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Unlocking Science March 18, 2009

Posted by davegoblog in Politics, Science, Technology.
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A Vote for Science November 2, 2008

Posted by davegoblog in Personal, Politics, Science, Technology.
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Scientists and Engineers for America Action Fund and ScienceBlogs (SEED Magazine) have teamed up to bring you the AVoteForScience YouTube challenge. Are you a scientist? Tell the world who you are voting for this year. McCain? Obama? None of the above? Upload your YouTube video explaining who you are, who you are voting for and why you are voting for them.

Here’s my submission:

Large Hadron Rap September 2, 2008

Posted by davegoblog in Future, Music, Science, Technology.
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The first attempt to circulate a beam through the entire Large Hadron Collider is scheduled for next week on September 10, 2008.  While you’re waiting with bated breath, you can enjoy the Large Hadron Rap, which I discovered via the latest Science Friday.

“The LHC is super duper fly.  You know what I’m saying?  Check it.”

“Tweeting” from Mars June 6, 2008

Posted by davegoblog in Pop Culture, Science, Technology.
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The Mars Phoenix Lander touched down on the red planet almost two weeks ago and announced its arrival there by “tweeting” on Twitter.  Since that time, it has garnered over 18,000 followers on the micro-blogging site and landed in the 12th spot of most followers according to Twitterholic (as of this post).  Not bad since its first tweet was on May 7, 2008.

Phoenix’s tweets are not from a cute, talking robot like Pixar’s upcoming Wall•E.  Instead, its part is being played by Veronica McGregor, the media director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.  She said that she would continue to do it as long as people are following and as long as Phoenix is working.  “Eventually we’ll have to sign-off and say good-bye.”  Until then, you can follow the mission via Twitter @MarsPhoenix.

 Note: I did ask a question, but never heard a response.  I’ll keep trying 😉

Pork and Beans June 3, 2008

Posted by davegoblog in Music, Pop Culture, Star Wars, Technology.
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Weezer’s new music video “Pork and Beans” premiered on YouTube on May 23rd and had an astounding 5 million views in just 8 days!  Thanks in great part to its featuring of many YouTube stars and memes like the Numa Numa guy, Chris Crocker (the tearful Britney Spears defender), the Diet Coke and Mentos eruptions, Charlie the Unicorn, and the Star Wars kid.  If you haven’t seen it, then now’s your chance.

Their new album entitled The Red Album was released today in the US.

Climate Security Act May 29, 2008

Posted by davegoblog in Climate Change, Environment, Future, Politics, Science, Technology.
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Members of Congress are scheduled to begin debate next week on Senate bill 2191 “America’s Climate Security Act of 2007,” which was introduced by Joseph Lieberman (I-CT) and John Warner (R-VA).  The two purposes of this Act are:

(1) to establish the core of a Federal program that will reduce United States greenhouse gas emissions substantially enough between 2007 and 2050 to avert the catastrophic impacts of global climate change; and

(2) to accomplish that purpose while preserving robust growth in the United States economy and avoiding the imposition of hardship on United States citizens.

I’m sure we’ll hear the same old arguments from “global warming” deniers such as the economy will suffer, temperatures are actually cooling, and carbon dioxide is good for plants.

As a scientist, it’s frustrating to see when the waters are being muddied to produce doubt in the minds of people.  If the data for global warming and subsequent climate change were shown to be incorrect, then I would gladly acknowledge that our science is wrong.  But science seeks to explain how things happen in the universe, and science is self-correcting.  The evidence is overwhelming, and as the IPCC has previously said, “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal.”

Read Chris Mooney’s new article The Price of Planetary Gambling for a more in depth analysis of the upcoming debate.

Who’s looking in your genes? April 25, 2008

Posted by davegoblog in Future, Politics, Science, Technology.
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Have no fear!  Only you and your doctor will be able to know what’s hiding in your genes.  The U.S. Senate has finally passed the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), approving by unanimous vote an amended version of H.R. 493, which passed the House a year ago today by a vote of 420-3.  As I previously blogged, the Senate debate had been on “hold” by Tom Coburn, Republican U.S. Senator from Oklahoma.

The act, once signed into law, will protect Americans against discrimination based on their genetic information when it comes to health insurance and employment.  The long-awaited measure, which has been debated in Congress for 13 years (my emphasis), will pave the way for people to take full advantage of the promise of personalized medicine without fear of discrimination.

Start studying for that genetic test now!

No one can hear you scream! April 7, 2008

Posted by davegoblog in Personal, Pop Culture, Science, Technology.
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You’ve seen the movies, read the books, and had hours & hours of discussion about it, but just how long could you survive in space before a passing Vogon ship picked you up?

How long could you survive in the vacuum of space?
Created by OnePlusYou

“Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act” April 1, 2008

Posted by davegoblog in Environment, Future, Politics, Pollution, Science, Technology.
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ImaBill

Even though it’s April Fools’ Day, this is no joke.  Minnesota Representative Michelle Bachmann introduced H.R. 5616, the “Light Bulb Freedom of Choice Act,”

To provide for the repeal of the phase out of incandescent light bulbs unless the Comptroller General makes certain specific findings.”

Those findings are that:

  1.  Consumers will save money on the combination of electric bills and expenses for new fixures.
  2. Overall carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced by 20% in the US by 2025.
  3. The phase-out will not pose any health risks, including those associated with mercury containment in certain light bulbs.

This coming about two weeks before the Bush Administration appealed a federal court’s decision throwing out an EPA regulation to control mercury emissions from coal-fired power plants.  They argued that the ruling requires EPA to set “inappropriate and unnecessary emission standards for power plants.”

So, mercury may not be okay in certain light bulbs, but it’s okay in coal-fired power plants?  And, what about mercury in dental fillings?  Hell, we’re Americans, and we can damn well choose what type of light bulbs we want, what sort of fillings we get, and what type of big ass cars we drive!

Note: I don’t like it when science gets distorted by politics on either side of the spectrum.  /off soap box

The Doomsday Vault February 26, 2008

Posted by davegoblog in Environment, Future, Science, Technology.
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Vault

The Doomsday Vault sounds like something out of an Indiana Jones movie or a Harry Potter novel, but it isn’t.  That’s merely the nickname the media has given to the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which opened today in Longyearbyen, Norway.  Think of it a backup to the 1400 other seed banks scattered throughout the world.  Those seed banks are subject to natural and manmade disasters, whereas the Doomsday vault was built to survive an earthquake or a nuclear strike.  War has destroyed seed banks in Afghanistan and Iraq, and a 2006 typhoon caused another seed bank to be flooded in the Philippines.

The vault has the capacity to store 4.5 million seed samples, which is equivalent to about 2 billion individual seeds.  The giant air-conditioning units keep the temperature at -18 ºC or about 0 ºF, which experts believe is cold enough for many seeds to last 1000 years.  Even if the power systems failed, the permafrost surrounding the vault would help keep the seeds at a temperature to last 200 years in the worst case scenario.  Let’s hope the Global Crop Diversity Trust only has to worry about the polar bears there.